New Body Scanners Use AI to Avoid Pat-downs at Large Events

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(Photo: Evolv Technologies)
A new security system supported by artificial intelligence might soon replace uncomfortable and time-consuming pat-downs at large events.

Evolv, a physical security technology company, has created a touchless screening system that uses sensors, AI, and cloud analytics to identify threats without inconveniencing event attendees. The system, called Evolv Express, looks similar to anti-shoplifting scanners you’ll typically find at your local grocery store’s exit: thin, unimposing, and contactless. They stand at the entrances to large events and filter out physical threats at a rate of about 4,000 people per hour—10 times faster than a conventional metal detector.

Conventional security systems look for metal in any form. Not only does this usually require people to sift through their bags and pockets, but it also snags innocent people wearing jewelry or belts. Rather than just looking for metal, Evolv Express uses AI to seek out specific shapes, sizes, and densities associated with knives, guns, or other weapons of mass harm. The AI ​​evolves as new threats are identified—a process that engages the system’s customers by allowing them to submit threat information in real time. The result is a faster and more convenient screening system that effectively filters out threats without requiring a whole lot of cooperation from attendees.

Evolv was established after both co-founders lost loved ones to mass tragedies. “No one wants to live in a world where every place they go reminds them of airport security,” the company’s website reads. “A metal detector at every entrance isn’t just inconvenient, it’s frightening: a persistent reminder of possible threats…Evolv’s low profile ensures sales won’t have to compromise customer experience to increase safety.”

The company’s Express system has already made its way into physical security settings around the country. Most of these include sports stadiums and convention centers, but schools, workplaces, theme parks, and houses of worship have begun to introduce Evolv’s technology as well. Most recently, Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium introduced Evolv Express to keep the stadium weapons-free. Just 12 Express units were able to replace 100 conventional metal detectors—all in time for football season.

Since Evolv’s foundation in 2013, Express has been used to screen more than 350 million people—more than any other private entity in the US. This year alone, the system has already filtered out more than 30,000 guns and 27,000 knives.

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